With St Patrick’s day just a week away, and sadly many of the Paddy’s Day parades and events now cancelled, I thought I’d share with you a my favourite Irish recipes for you to try at home. This Irish soda bread with cheese and herbs is so simple and quick, because unlike most breads it doesn’t require any kneading or proving time, you just mix it together and bung it in the oven.
All of the ingredients are pretty standard store cupboard stuff. If you can’t get your hands on buttermilk you can just substitute regular milk with a tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar. I’ve used mature cheddar cheese as it’s just what I had, but you can use pretty much any hard/semi-hard cheese. And I’ve used Schwartz mixed herbs that has a blend of marjoram, basil, oregano and thyme as it so easily gives that gorgeous herby flavour without faffing around with loads of fresh herbs, which let’s face it, go limp and sad almost as soon as you’ve bought them.
I have been working with Schwartz on this post, however all words are my own
- 400g Plain flour plus extra for dusting
- 1tsp of bicarbonate of soda
- 125g cheese grated. I used mature cheddar
- 300ml buttermilk/milk & lemon juice
- 2 tsp mixed herbs
- 1 tbsp milk to glaze
- 1 tsp salt and a dash of pepper
You will also need a sheet pan lined with baking parchment.
- Pre heat your oven to 200C, 180C fan, or gas mark 6. Line your sheet pan with baking parchment and dust with flour and set to one side.
- Sift flour, Bicarb and salt into a large mixing bowl and add a dash of black pepper.
- Stir in most of the grated cheese and mixed herbs, reserving a little for the top of the loaf.
- Make a well in the centre and add the buttermilk, stirring the mixture together with a wooden spoon. It should come together in a smooth ball, if not add a little splash of milk.
- Shape into a round loaf with your hands and score a deep cross with a knife on top.
- Brush the dough with milk and scatter on the remaining cheese and mixed herbs.
- Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes. You can test the loaf with a skewer inserted into the centre, which when baked fully should come out clean. And if you tap the bottom of the bread it should sound hollow.
- Leave to cool for 30 minutes on a cooling rack before eating.
This soda bread goes perfectly with soups, stews or even on its own with lashings of butter. I served mine with Irish fish chowder and pint of the black stuff…well, it would be rude not to!